MarketingTechnologyUncategorized

3D printing for business

3D Printing For Business

Once something thought to be the stuff of fictional movies, now is becoming more and more reality for businesses from small to large. 3D Printing. You don’t have to be  in a lab recreating a dinosaur part like form the movie Jurassic Park III.

There are endless applications for the use of 3D printers in today’s business world. Here are a couple simple ideas.

Custom signage

You can print signage as a whole or pieces that put together. Make an impact with your design on doorways, hallways and desks in your office. A simple way to keep consistent branding throughout the company while being able to print to size you need. In the Panda Rose office we printed off some decorations for the office too!

Repair pieces

Printing pieces for repairing items you have built or things that are simply broken, is a lot more practical then you might think. Check out this blog post by Projects By Zac about things he has 3D printed to repair. Things from his simply fan to his car door handle! How many times in the office or shop has there been an item that is simple to fix or replace but it is a matter of getting or ordering the part? Sometimes with ordered parts you are forced to purchase many of them that you don’t even need and/or have to wait for them to be shipped too.

Prototyping

Scale models of projects and prototyping of designs is a huge application for 3D printing. So you have designed a part, invention or creation for a client, you are about to have hundreds, thousands or even millions made. with 3D printing you can give yourself a chance to have a good look at the design, feel it in your hands and make design adjustments.

In the case of custom metal or woodworking, you can print off specialty pieces that fit your clients/build exact needs, saving time and money on searching or adjusting your designs.

Promotional materials

Need a thank you gift for a client or staff member? Print them off their very own promotional item. We printed a cookie cutter here at Panda Rose not long ago as a fun gift for a staff member who likes to bake. Gone are the days of promotional mugs you stock somewhere “in the back” with your old logo before your company did a re-branding. You can create custom promotional materials that suit your campaign/client/occasion.

Medical applications

You are a dentist, a physiotherapist or a chiropractor and your patient needs to see the visual difference in whats being done. You can print it!  Just check out this full article on 3D printing and how it is revolutionizing the dental industry.

 

Check out our Instagram to see our time lapse video of the 3D printer working!

MarketingSEOUncategorizedWeb Development

Website Development

5 Website Mistakes

Websitemistakeshurtingyourbusiness

The world has moved online, whether you make and sell a specific product or offer a services, customers are finding businesses online. In a recent blog post we explained Why A Good Website Is Important, but this post is about some of the common mistakes we see when starting with new clients, building or updating websites.

1. Your website is too busy

Making your website reader friendly is key here. If your online website is the first time a client is interacting with your business and they come overloaded with information they are more likely to navigate off your page and find an easier to read site. A good way to create a visually more appealing website is to have more white space. Sometimes a little less is more. Keep text blocks short and sweet. If you need to expand on idea, think about creating a blog page to link to for more information.

2. Ignoring the back end of your site

There are a few tools like SCHEMA you can use in the back end of your website to improve your ranking in search engines. Alt text for images is a great way of having keywords added to content. Structured Data markup helps organize the information for search engines so it they can understand what your website is about.

3. Broken links

Broken links or links that lead to no where on your website have a lot of negative effects. Firstly, it is frustrating to potential clients/customers. Picture this, your client is on your e-commerce site and ready to purchase the adorable item you have on your landing page. They click and it leads them to an error message or somewhere else. Now the customer has to navigate around your site to find what they are looking for and are more likely to go somewhere else. Additionally, too may broken or damaged links on your website can hurt your ranking in search engines.

4. Your website is SLOW

As we have shared in previous blog posts 47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds. People don’t want to wait for a site to load in order to find what they are looking for. Our fast digital world has people wanting instant solutions to their problems and are more likely to navigate away from your site if it is slow moving.

“47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds.”

5. It’s not accessible

Know your audience, especially if they are needing alternative languages or voice reading options. You can check out this website for a scan of your website.

 

 

Does all of this seem a bit daunting? Take one thing at a time and work on it slowly. Or you can always chat with the Panda Rose team about helping get your website updated.

MarketingSEOTechnologyUncategorizedWeb Development

Your website if the first impression people have of your business.

They are searching the internet for your services or product and they land on your page! Congratulations they found you! Which even finding you is hard enough with tons of businesses online competing for the same top of the search page spot.

They navigate to your website and are greeted by an unappealing site, irrelevant information or it’s SLOW. *que dramatic music* Consumers attention spans are short and when they are searching for information or products, even shorter when they are stopped by a SLOW moving or difficult to navigate website.

Did you know that 47% of users leave a website if its loading time is more than 3 seconds? So optimization is a vital thing for your website. If it’s well-functioning and the content/ products there are of a high-quality, more visitors will surely come and conversion rates will increase.

Deborah, our in house Web Development Expert says “Your website is an extension of your business. You want your website to match the professionalism of your business.”

Having a clear message you are trying to portray to potential clients and customers right away is what will keep them on your website, navigating and researching who you are and just what it is that you do.

In addition, great websites are showcases for some of your best work. You can show of all the amazing products or jobs you have completed to a potential client/customer before they even have the chance to contact you. This decreases some of the time spent answering questions, making your business just that much more efficient.

Finally, a good website with great content helps get you noticed on search engines. The more time people spend on your site and the more often the visit, the more search engines believe your site and information to be relevant. If you want to learn more about SEO check out our recent blog post What even is SEO? And How To Use It.

 

MarketingMobile AppsSEOSocial Media

Instagram is a great platform for business to show off their entertaining and creative side. It is easy to use, easily accessed and fun to work with.

Unfortunately, I often find businesses treating their Instagram business profile like their website or worse, like a scrapbook. I’ll tell you why that is hurting their business.  

Like I said before, Instagram is for creativity and fun. When a business has a difficult time portraying those aspects of themselves it can turn people off to being their customer. Businesses do this in a couple different ways, let’s take a look and explore the fixes. 

Posting Unrelated Photos

This is an issue for the sake of professionalism. When I decide I want to follow a business on Instagram, it is for one of two reasons. 1) I want to see more posts from them. They posted an eye catching photo and I want to see posts similar to that one more often. Or 2) I have used their service or bought a product from them and wish to find out more about the company and support them.

When a business I decided to follow starts posting unrelated pictures, I lose interest quickly and I will normally unfollow.

But there is a right way to post “unrelated photos.” This is because they are not completely unrelated. A safe and fun way to do this is through Instagram stories. These are an easy way to show your followers a more relaxed or goofy side of you. Posting pictures of your children, snowfall, shenanigans in the office and dessert or any other random noteworthy picture goes in the 24 hour lasting Instagram stories. These personal pictures keep you real.

The point of bringing this up is a reminder to be a self aware business. Are you posting something that will intrigue your followers? How are you hoping people will react or engage with this post? What does this picture say about your company? These are questions we need to keep in mind while posting if we are looking to put on the best face for the company.

 

Posting Irregularly

The human brain is weird. We like things we are comfortable with. By this I mean that we would generally rather have some knowledge than to not know anything about what we are walking into. Keeping this in mind, we should be posting often and on a schedule. Doing this would result in masses of people who know about you. Who would clearly know what your business  specializes in, how your business would benefit them, and would put good word in for yourself. This is necessary in today’s day and age.

If you didn’t Instagram it, did it even happen?

 

And worst of all, Poor Quality Photos.

Instagram was created for aesthetic. This means color schemes, professional looking photos, organization and planning ahead. When a business does not do this they are not meeting the standard. Therefore they sell  themselves short.

Your business is reliable, honest and provides top quality. You know that and I know that, but the picture of your cluttered desk in poor lighting using your favorite filter from 2015 does not portray good things about our business to the judgmental human eye.

It can be difficult to know makes a good photo. What is the right lighting? What theme works best for your page? How should you manage the times you publish posts?

If you are feeling creative and think you can fix up your business page on your own, I would look for inspiration from big names. Check out Instagram profiles like Apple or Instagram itself. Or you could look into artsy profiles to find out what is trending concerning color schemes and filters.

If you are feeling lost when it comes to your business’s potentially aesthetic profile, that is OK. There are people all around you who would love to help point you in the right direction or take over your business profile entirely. They are called social media managers and you can talk to us at Panda Rose for such information.

A business profile can bring a lot of pressure. But let me assure you it isn’t all that complicated. Create a step by step process for your posts. Be sure you can check off the requirements you believe your posts need to meet the standard of an effective and engaging profile. If all else fails, you can always hire someone to make it work for you.     

 

I hope this blog post was helpful and that I will get to see all of your beautiful business profiles thriving.

 

Tessa  Houcher

MarketingMobile AppsProductivityTechnology

Will email ever die? Is email already dead? I have no idea. With the many different answers I have found on the Internet, it appears that as a whole, we really don’t know if email is leaving anytime soon or if it is already gone. I do however, think that texting is superior to email and that there is great potential for your business in using texting over email with your potential and loyal customers. So lets take a look at what we do know. 

 

Texting has become the popular form of communication of today. People like texting because of the relaxed setting. Texting doesn’t feel like work the same way that email does. Studies have also suggested that people say things over text that they wouldn’t say in person, its an opportunity for honesty. Texts allow for causal questions and answers without hassle. That said, here are my reasons as to why you need to look into reaching your customers through texting.

 

The stress free atmosphere that texting provides will first off allow customers to feel free to ask questions! You may have given them the ability to ask questions before, but the process of emailing feels like a hassle. Yes, I know submitting an email is easy. But people want answers right then and there. Even if texting is not actually instant, people are more likely to trust that a text was sent and delivered without complication because texting is just that basic. You could use this trust concept to your company’s advantage.

 

Let’s say a customer had a quick, generic question, they could either submit an email through your company’s website as they have been your customer on a couple occasions or they could ask Google and receive multiple answers from multiple resources along with advertising from your competitors, how do you think a person would seek out the answer? I know that if it was me, I would just Google it.

 

But, if I had been your customer before and had your company’s texting number and you had made it clear that I was free to ask questions, I would totally ditch the million answers from Google to get feedback from a company I had used before and have no reason not to trust.  

 

Another benefit of giving your company’s texting number to customers is that people use texting constantly. For you this means that notifications from you could not get ignored the way emails can, you could get away with more texts than emails and it is quick! You send a text, they take a quick glance and would know what the point of the text is.

 

Will email ever die? Is email already dead? I have no idea. With the many different answers I have found on the Internet, it appears that as a whole, we really don’t know if email is leaving anytime soon or if it is already gone. I do however, think that texting is superior to email and that there is great potential for your business in using texting over email with your potential and loyal customers.

 

Texting has become the popular form of communication of today. People like texting because of the relaxed setting. Texting doesn’t feel like work the same way that email does. Studies have also suggested that people say things over text that they would never say in person. Texts allow for causal questions and answers without hassle. That said, here are my reasons as to why you need to look into reaching your customers through texting.

 

The stressless atmosphere that texting provides will first off allow for customers to feel free to ask questions! You may have given them the ability to ask questions before, but the process of submitting a question on your website takes time. Submitting an email is easy, yes I know that. But people want answers right then and there. Even if texting is not actually instant, people are more likely to trust that a text was sent and delivered without complication because texting is just that basic. You could use this trust concept to your company’s advantage.

 

Let’s say a customer had a quick, generic question, they could either submit an email through your company’s website as they have been your customer on a couple occasions or they could ask Google and receive multiple answers from multiple resources along with advertising from your competitors, how do you think a person would seek out the answer? I know that if it was me, I would just Google it.

 

But, if I had been your customer before and had your company’s texting number and you had made it clear that I was free to ask questions, I would totally ditch the million answers from Google to get feedback from a company I had used before and have no reason not to trust.  

 

Another benefit of giving your company’s texting number to customers is that people use texting constantly. For you this means that notifications from you could not get ignored the way emails can, you could get away with more texts than emails and it is quick! You send a text, they take a quick glance and would know what the point of the text is.

 

Now they could move on and not even think about the 10 seconds they took to check the text from you, or if your call to action was enticing enough they may take a minute or two longer to click the link you gave them.

 

You can text your customers your latest deals, discounts, referral information, blog links, and reminders about shipping (imagine how your affiliates would love to simply text for you.) What I am trying to say is that you can text them anything that you are currently email them. But a text is favoured by your customers because of how low-key a it is and they would feel free to answer or ask a question without overthinking. (As a professional overthinker, I know this first hand.)

 

A factor to be careful with is to know that your customers gave you your number and trusts that you won’t abuse that privilege. Text them about things they would care about, or what ever it is that they actually signed up for. If you do this correctly you will form a relationship of trust between the business and customer, this will ensure further sales.

 

I do have one concern with your company texting it’s customers; people may expect instant replies. Now unless you have someone working your texting phone 24/7 you may want to clarify. Upfront you need to explain that it is a person with many responsibilities who is replying to their important texts. Customers appreciate humans. Messaging bots do not have a good reputation when it comes to talking with customers. If your customers know they are talking to a human and not an  incompetent robot, they would commend you for that.

 

Speaking of robots, another possibility with texting your customers is that someday a bot could do it all for you. Yes I know I just said that customers prefer capable humans to  unintelligent robots. But someday actually intelligent, messaging bots will be quite able to interpret natural language and give a proper answer. The ability for your company to have a dependable messaging bot would be extremely beneficial for you and your customers.

 

When bots are smart enough to communicate back and forth with customers, I know that these messaging bots will be the only realistic way to reach customers. Until then, I think that emailing will stick around… even though texting makes so much sense.

 

What are your thoughts on being texted by companies? Would you switch your company over to texting over emailing, why or why not? I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

Tess Houcher

 

MarketingSocial Media

I went to the waterpark with my siblings and my boyfriend the other day, we all had a blast. The many slides, giant wave pool and the hyperness we all experienced at some point made for a pretty spectacular day together.

I came to the conclusion that the waterpark shares some similarities with social media.

For starters, you are surrounded by all types at the waterpark. There are the other girls in cute swimsuits you wish you owned, the large group of rowdy young adult males, the elderly that are taking the stairs better than you, the parents who wished they didn’t even try bringing their children to the water park, the crazy kids and the creeper.

Social media is the same. The picture perfect girls on Instagram, the people who share every opinion they have ever had (those groups can get a little rowdy too), there is the grandparents who will post about how great their grandkids are constantly, the parents who share every moment of their busy lives, the crazy kids and the creeper.

It is odd though, the waterpark is full of many people’s fears. Heights, giant slides, deep water, crowds, the potential to see someone you don’t want to, potential harm or embarrassment. Yet the waterpark is always full of excited people. The water park obviously has more fun features than fears for the average person. Some people love the crazy slides, maybe heights don’t scare them, crowds exhilarate them and seeing old friends sounds like a pleasant surprise.

 

There is definitely both sides in social media as well. Some may love the ability to be connected to everyone they could ever want to connect with and love the ability to influence the masses with their words, pictures or embarrassing videos. This is all while other people could hate the idea of these experiences.

All of these comparisons are important because they adjust the temperature or vibe of a trip to the waterpark…

It can be freezing outside but the temperature in the waterpark is 31 degrees Celsius. Then there is a temperature change again when you only get slightly wet on certain slides, then you dry waiting in line, get soaked, go to the hot tub then the wave pool then back to the slides… your body experiences all these changes even though you are in an atmosphere of 31 degrees and the weather outside is -15 degrees.

A grumpy lifeguard or dropping your soft pretzel can lower the ‘temperature’ of your experience, while a short line to a water slide and a free tube for the wave pool can make your day — raising your ‘temperature’ or vibe.

I mention temperature because Facebook is the same. Maybe the overall feel, vibe, or temperature of your feed is mainly positive posts, funny videos and full of your favourite people (warm and sunny). But then the country can be hit with political issues and your feed will then have upsetting posts in the mix (icy).

Later you see that your friend from high school is getting engaged and the proposal was adorable (warm and fuzzy). But the next post is your aunty letting friends and family know your cousin is sick in the hospital again (cold). Then you see an advertisement stating that your favourite store is having a sale (warming up). But your brother’s dog died and he wrote the sweetest post about him (chilly).

Temperature changing in seconds is exhausting physically, mentally and emotionally. In most cases, we can’t do anything about the changes.

This comparison reminds us that we have a big water park to play in (Facebook/Instagram), with a wide variety of people (tired moms, awkward teenagers, proud grandparents etc.) this means that targeting your market is important.

The tired mom and the awkward teenager cannot be reached by the same ad campaign. It is essential that your business sells itself to the correct demographic in the way that they can be sold to.

What is the temperature or vibe of your marketing strategy? Are you going to display the amazing benefits that your product or service can provide your audience? (Warm.) Or is it valuable for your ad campaign to reveal the obstacles your customers will face without your assistance? (Chilly.)

At Panda Rose we can help you identify the different audiences you need to target, how to market to them and how to do it efficiently. We look forward to hearing from you.

Tess Houcher

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Self-ImprovementShoppingTechnology

How does this impact you?

This isn’t new information. Millennials are not into material things. (Sorry Madonna.) Sure we still enjoy our Starbucks and Amazon products like anyone, but I proudly speak for Millennials everywhere when I say, we are not strictly material girls in this material world.

This may sound false but when you think about it, it makes total sense. We have already been labelled as spoiled because we have had multitudes of ‘things’ available to us. As we’ve grown up, we have learnt about the lack of purpose in our extravagant things.

Does this statement threaten your business?

We have found worth in our experiences! Don’t bother telling us we won a TV or a Michael Kors bag. Instead we want to win the trips to warm places, a weekend away in the mountains or a free meal at a unique restaurant. Pretty much anything that is worth being Instagrammed.

A trip overseas, concerts, charity events, parties, road trips, extravagant group dates, (or less extravagant like McDonald’s) are all experiences that we can do with friends. There are also dates like pumpkin carving, skating, picnics, a day at the river, bowling, mini golf, the list goes on. Sharing experiences with people we love is much more appealing especially when large amounts of money are not always needed!

Yes, sometimes our experiences do cost money… a lot of money. But with our lack of care about brand names we can get everything we want without breaking the bank. I for one, shop at the thrift shop whenever I can as I know I can find my needs and some wants without breaking the bank. And trust me, my wardrobe is still full of beautiful clothing pieces. Because I shop at thrift stores, I am able to save up for the things I value more than brands, like overseas trips.

My friends bought cheap toy guns that fire foam darts so we could have battles in their apartment rather than perhaps purchasing a brand new TV. (An example of adulting at it’s finest.) And what do we get out of our childishness? We have awesome stories to tell and memories that will last a lifetime. Yes their TV works less than great but they don’t need a new one so why would they buy one now?

The experience outweighs the material.

My examples of today’s biggest craze really does seem much less superficial than the picture painted of the roaring 20s or Madonna’s song, but is it? Well yes having less and appreciating more is beautiful. I am just not convinced that we as humans have changed so that we no longer wish to be better then the person next to us. I think this because of the nature of Instagram.

We still feel the need to post all of these experiences. Is it just because we want grandma to know we spent our birthday on an amazing road trip? Or to tell your mom you are being safe at the concert? Of course not. We post so that we make sure everyone knows where we are, what we are doing, and that we are #blessed.

Marketing to millennials requires a promised experience. Does your product have a cute label worth being Instagrammed? Is your office space welcoming and trendy? Is your shop current and appealing? What about your website, is it simple to use and engaging? Have you managed to market your product through word of mouth and social media? I hope that you can answer yes to these questions if millennials are your target market. If you can’t say that your business thrives in these necessary categories, I suggest making some upgrades that are sure to improve your company’s overall position.

I love that more of us are working to gain experiences over the material things. I hope that this trend will never die as it is fulfilling and fun!

What changes have you made to better market to millennials? What experiences have businesses offered you to make you appreciate their business?

Tess Houcher

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